And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. Luke 22:44
Over the past few weeks, I have been working through Elizabeth George's study on the book of Luke. As I am reading through Jesus' final days on Earth, I am struck once again at his prayer in Gethsemane. In the past, I have always focused on his humanity--his desire to have the cup taken from him, his momentary reluctance to experience the suffering, the torture, the agonizing death on the cross. It always comforts me to see Jesus as a human. And then, to see him willingly take on the pain, the sacrifice that is to come--well, there are no words.
Yet today, it was verse 44 which touched my heart the most. Look at it closely. "Being in anguish, Jesus prayed more earnestly" and the prayer was so deep, so passionate, that Luke says "his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground." Jesus prayed with his entire being, laying everything within him out before the throne of the Father!! He literally gave his ALL in prayer!! It was spiritual, it was mental, it was emotional, and it was physical. Oh, my gosh!! Do you know how paltry and uninspired my prayers seem in the face of this marvelous example?
Most days, I think I pray with maybe a quarter of my being engaged. I sit in the recliner with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse in the background, or walk the two blocks to work praying and watching for cars as I cross the street, or move through the kitchen praying, cooking, cleaning. My prayers might be sincere, but they're not really earnest. Instead of leaving it all before the Father, I hit all the names on the prayer list, make a quick mention of my husband and sons, cover the rest under "family and friends", and ask that God help me honor him with my day. Somewhere along the line, I've lost the act of passionate prayer. I have my moments, usually when I feel like my boat's about to go under and I have no other option. But is that really good enough?
I think, if I'm being honest, the thought of praying earnestly and passionately is a little frightening. What if I leave it all out there and God doesn't "come through"? What if he doesn't grant the desires of my heart? What if I decide the cost is just too much? What if the direction he wants to take me in isn't the way I want to go? What if I don't have what it takes to follow through?
The reality is, I will never have the relationship with God that I desire to have if I only give him part of myself. And the reality is, God has a plan for my life that is so much more than what I could ever see or comprehend. Passionate prayer is a way for me to let go of the wheel and to let God take over so that I might fully live this life he has given me. Passionate prayer is my way of saying, "I'm all yours, God." Scary? Yes, but then, this is the One who literally gave everything to me.
So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit... 1 Corinthians 14:15
Blessings and Peace,